Ecuador warns China that it will enforce its maritime sovereignty in the Galapagos
The Navy detected a Chinese fishing fleet of more than 250 boats that sail in Ecuadorian waters.
The Ecuadorian Government has warned China that it will enforce its maritime sovereignty around the Galapagos Archipelago, some 1,000 kilometers from the mainland coast, given the proximity to these waters of a fishing fleet from that country.
“The Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry has taken steps in both Beijing and Quito to make the Chinese authorities know that Ecuador enforces its maritime rights without difference of flags,” Foreign Minister Luis Gallegos said in a statement released Thursday by his office in which he warns that “those rights are not violated”.
The minister recalled the words of his defense colleague, Oswaldo Jarrín, at a press conference hours earlier, in which he assured that “not a single Chinese or other nationality ship has entered the Exclusive Economic Zone, nor the island nor the territory of Ecuador”.
It is a fishing fleet of more than 250 boats, mainly under the Chinese flag, that navigate international waters between continental Ecuador and the Galapagos Archipelago, and which is monitored by the Navy in case they violate Ecuadorian territorial waters.
Gallegos reiterated that, through diplomatic channels, this sovereign position has been made known to the authorities of China and all the nationalities of the ships whose flags are present in the international fishing fleet in the equatorial Pacific.
In 2017 a ship from a similar fleet entered a nature reserve in Ecuadorian waters and was intercepted by the Navy with a shipment of prohibited species and at risk of extinction, for which the Andean country brought its crew to trial and confiscated the ship.
According to the Foreign Ministry statement, the Chinese Government has assured that “no ship of that nationality will enter the Exclusive Economic Zone of Ecuador and less to the waters of the Galapagos Marine Reserve.”
The first extends for 200 miles around the archipelago, while the second reaches 40 miles.
The minister stressed that the Foreign Ministry is using all resources in international law to protect their rights and that it will undertake “consultations with the Pacific riparian countries, especially Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, and Peru to advance joint solutions and intensify diplomatic actions aimed at combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.”